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The Blue Badge scheme: where can people park, what are the rules, who can have a blue badge?





If you have ever wondered why a car has parked on double yellow lines and escaped a fine, it may be the driver or passenger is the owner of a blue badge.

Blue badges allow people with disabilities to park in places other people can't.

However, having a blue badge parking permit doesn't automatically give the permit owner the right to park anywhere.

The Blue Badge gives disabled people the privilege of parking on yellow lines or in time-restricted zones without penalty
The Blue Badge gives disabled people the privilege of parking on yellow lines or in time-restricted zones without penalty

The scheme is designed to help people with disabilities park close to their destination, but only in places where it is safe to do so.

Members of social media community pages will likely have seen posts flood their feeds of people whining about where others have parked.

There are even some Twitter and Facebook pages which give a dedicated forum to moaning about dodgy places people have left their cars.

Although often complaints are valid, for others the drivers or passengers may hold blue badges - meaning they could have a right to be there.

A chart showing the number of fines given to people parked in a disabled space without showing a blue badge between April 1 and November 30
A chart showing the number of fines given to people parked in a disabled space without showing a blue badge between April 1 and November 30

But how much do you know about the rights and responsibilities of blue badge holders?

We try to answer some of those questions below:

Yellow lines

For most of us it’s been ingrained in our minds since learning to drive that yellow lines of any sort are something to steer clear of.

However blue badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours as long as there aren’t restrictions on loading or unloading.

Double yellows. Photo: Stock
Double yellows. Photo: Stock

Restrictions, indicated by signs and yellow blips on the kerb, tend to be in very narrow streets, outside schools or in town centres where it would cause safety issues for other road users.

To prove they are allowed to park there, the blue badge and a parking clock showing the quarter hour period of arrival must be shown.

‘On-street’ disabled parking bays with a blue wheelchair symbol

Unless signs say otherwise, badge holders can park for as long as they want for free.

A disabled parking space
A disabled parking space

Drivers are encouraged to use these spaces before parking on yellow lines.

The blue badge is not a licence to park anywhere.

Where blue badge holders must not park

The Blue Badge gives disabled people the privilege of parking on yellow lines or in time-restricted zones without penalty
The Blue Badge gives disabled people the privilege of parking on yellow lines or in time-restricted zones without penalty
  • Places where a ban on loading or unloading is in force
  • Parking places reserved for specific users such as resident’s bays or loading bays
  • Pedestrian crossings including areas marked by zig-zag lines
  • A bus stop clearway during its hours of operation
  • An urban clearway within its hours of operation
  • School ‘keep clear’ markings
  • Bus or cycle lanes or cycle tracks
  • Where temporary parking restrictions are in force
  • School entrances, bus stops, on a bend, or near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
  • Where it would make the road narrow or blocking vehicle entrances
  • Where emergency vehicles stop or go in and out, such as hospital entrances
  • Where the kerb has been lowered or the road raised
No vehicles are allowed in Stamford High Street between 10am and 4pm, this includes blue badge holders
No vehicles are allowed in Stamford High Street between 10am and 4pm, this includes blue badge holders

Supermarket and private car parks

It is up to car park operators to make the rules.

Although it isn’t illegal to park in a disabled bay - or a family space - if you don’t need to, private car park owners can choose to enforce fines.

It is also up to the car park owner to decide whether badge holders can park for free.

Who can have a blue badge?

Anyone with a disability that limits their ability to walk is eligible for a blue badge.

People who are registered blind or have a disability in their arms may also apply for a badge.

The badge can be used whenever a holder has to travel or park somewhere, either as a driver or passenger.

What do you think? Is the blue badge scheme understood well enough? Post your thoughts in the comments below.



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